Admit it: to think Amsterdam, is to think bizarre. From the illuminated doorways of the Red Light District to the smoke-filled cafés seemingly on every corner, it’s as startling as it is intriguing. But it’s what the city is, and has long been, about.
The Dutch capital unquestionably has enough on offer to keep tourists feeling compelled to go and see an adult show or venturing into a café to smoke something unfamiliar. This August, however, there’s a much more refreshing way of sampling Amsterdam’s idiosyncrasies: its festival season and the city stops at nothing to entertain the masses.
Hundreds of Thousands of Spectators
None, though, quite seem to encapsulate Dutch open-mindedness than Amsterdam Gay Pride, which is held this year in the first week of the month at various locations around the city. The festival has a very clear agenda: to achieve social acceptance of homosexuality and to establish Amsterdam as a gay capital. And boy, does it deliver.
The week-long festival is a celebration of everything gay, showcasing live music, theatre, and sports, and staging a host conferences and parties. Nevertheless, the pièce de résistance has to be the canal parade that marks the culmination of events. Quite literally hundreds of thousands of spectators line the city’s famous canals to catch a glimpse of the outrageously decorated floats, of which there are more and more each year.
If this isn’t enough of an incentive, the festival is free to attend. And with cheap flights to Amsterdam currently available, it makes perfect sense.